The Noble Pen for Mar 22, 2018

Next Noble Pen Meeting

March 22nd, 2018 at 7 pm

Scott’s Family Restaurant

1906 Blairs Ferry Rd NE, Cedar Rapids


_To Kill a Mockingbird_ continues to be in the news, as Harper Lee’s estate sues over too many changes in a Broadway script.


Ciuin sold some Petty Theft books.


It ain’t over until it’s over. ~Yogi Berra.  Make sure your story has a good ending, so the reader won’t decide it was over before reading to the end.

It is best if the protagonist is deeply involved in the resolution, as the catalyst for the resolution, and/or by being changed by the events.  It is not good for them to just watch the resolution or to be rescued; it is better if they are the rescuer but must overcome some personal obstacles to perform the rescue.

Try to have some plot twists to keep the plot unpredictable (and here). Ideally the reader will not expect the ending , but will find it to be completely natural when looking back at the events leading up to it.

Yet, the elements of the climax and ending should have been foreshadowed  without giving away the ending, so the reader does not feel cheated and cry “Deus ex Machina!”

How can you balance these opposites? Use a moderate amount of misdirection. Think like the stage magician, who misdirects you by keeping you focused on one hand while the other does the tricky work.  Give the reader vital information but distract them by immediately going into the battle, chase, or emotional confrontation. Give the important event or fact an obvious, unimportant reason to be there. Use details that just seem like scene-setting but turn out to be critical. Or let something obviously important turn out to have a different meaning than assumed. Don’t lie to the reader, or place too much emphasis on the red herring, or they will feel cheated.

Don’t just have it wrap up like a column of falling dominoes.  Make the reader feel they need to know the outcome, but can’t predict it.  Make the ending a dash to the finish line, perhaps a zig-zag one, but no more complicated than necessary.  Emphasize conflict, not description, back story, or philosophizing, in the later chapters.  Try not to need a lot of wrap-up after the climax.

Larry Brooks talks about structuring the story for a killer ending.  Vicki Hinze discusses how to wrap it up.  Here’s Laura Miller’s take on what makes a great ending.

It’s up to you, should it have a happy ending? Whether or not it is a happy one, it should be a satisfying ending.

Nobody reads a (novel) to get to the middle.  They read it to get to the end.  If it’s a let down, they won’t buy anymore.  The first page sells that book.. The last page sells your next book. ~ Mickey Spillane

If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story. ~Orson Welles

Upcoming Schedule

March 22

March 29
Aime – short educational
Open slot

Apr 5
Open slot

Apr 12
Open slots

Apr 19
Open slots

Keep Writing,